I suppose I like my recollections under control.
Putting memory to one side, things like, say, school reunion? No thank you. Book launch? All those old acquaintances you thought you would never have to see again, in one room? Hell. The personnel of the radio station then as opposed to now? Maybe half an hour … Very few people shine back to back with stingy wine. We all move on, some to better things, some to predictably stuck. Is it an illusion that I am improved with age? Maybe I am a pain in the neck….
Ever since I began having treatment on my eye, I have avoided (it’s as good a rationalisation as any) doing any big job at the computer. The screen is very hard on the eyes. But yesterday, I looked through the file I keep on annalog.
A middle of the road hoarder, there are things I can’t part with. The edition of the Just So Stories
from which both parents read to me isn’t going anywhere, though dogeared and old and I may never read it again. They touched it, it’s magical. I can’t just give books away but I can thin them.
I do the same with clothes, with increasing severity. I don’t keep what I don’t wear – much – except for odd things I am unaccountably fond of.
I go through my few files regularly and throw things away, though the temptation of the desktop files is just to push things into them and forget it. So yesterday I went through annalog. I am very glad I did
because it made me grateful all over again, to Linda who pushed me into doing a blog and Dee who puts it up when I have written it and chosen the pictures. Please don’t write chidingly to me about the technology. We all have our weak spots, I have so many the soul is freckled.
Here I found the first person who ever wrote in response, against all the perceptions of who listened or read me. There were the appreciations, the kind thoughts and enquiries, the comments on the substance of what I had written, the wishes that I was still on the radio. And the heartbreakers – the people who wrote great big beautiful stories about their lives and their experiences and where radio fitted in to that, or why this idea or that image had so appealed to them.
You know that picture in various childhood stories – I am thinking of Aladdin – where the hero or heroine opens a chest of jewels – how they twinkle and shine!
Jewels you don’t price, you just marvel at … That was me looking at you and annalog yesterday and feeling enriched in a way that was nothing to do with money. Kindness and consideration, and the wish to communicate them is beyond price or currency.
It has been a horrible couple of years. And of course people vary in their different perceptions about what was the worst of it – or what is the worst of it. The true and sparkling wealth of what I read yesterday is not to do with agreeing, it’s to do with the expression of individual opinion and the room for it.
Like the woman who rang in when we did a programme on being allowed to die, to say that her husband had, she had terminal cancer but she did not want life taken from her. “How do you manage?” I asked. She referred to pain management, prayer and gin. She was wonderful.
Or the man who heard me opine that loneliness might be something innate, a predisposition, and wrote to me about it. I don’t think I persuaded him but he was interested enough to ask and at least we both called it what it was – a word which people shy away from – because, I think, it indicates that they fail – they can’t reach you. If we were both boats,
perhaps for a few minutes I was alongside.
The most wonderful thing about radio audiences is their longterm fidelity. Over and over in the jewelbox of memory, writers referred to 20, 30years – and not only did they remember, and stick with me – they transferred significant loyalty from one medium to another. Yesterday was a day when you couldn’t make me feel broke. You made me rich. Thank you.